Deshamanya Arjuna Ranatunga (Sinhalese: ; born 1 December 1963) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and 1996 Cricket World Cup winning captain for Sri Lanka. Often nicknamed as Captain Cool, he is regarded as the pioneer to lift Sri Lankan cricket from underdog status to one of great forces in cricketing world. After retirement, he worked in many posts of Sri Lanka Cricket administration. Entered his father’s stream of politics, Ranatunga started his political career in 2005, and now currently is the cabinet minister of Ports & Shipping.

Upon retirement from playing cricket he entered politics, joining the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and entered parliament, from Colombo District, in the 2001 elections. He served a tenure as deputy minister for tourism, and also served as the president of Sri Lanka Cricket until December 2008. He joined the Democratic National Alliance in 2010 and contested the 2010 elections.

Cricket career


Ranatunga went on to captain Sri Lanka in 1988, taking control of the national team for the next 11 years, transforming it from a weak, routinely defeated team into a competitive and successful unit. He led the team to their greatest cricketing triumph, 1996 World Cup. His innovative captaincy took a Sri Lanka team, given little chance prior to the competition, for cricket’s greatest prize. His strategies was commended by many cricketing greats and followed by other teams. He was the brain behind the strategy of scoring as many runs as possible in the first 15 overs of an ODI match in which there are field restrictions. This strategy was perfectly executed by Sanath Jayasuriya. This strategy was still followed by the batsmen in the Powerplays. He was widely recognised as a belligerent leader and was famous for defending his players at all costs regardless of what they did.


Ranatunga lost the national team captaincy in 1999 after Sri Lanka’s poor showing at the World Cup in England, although he was chosen as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year for that year.

In June 2000, Ranatunga played in Sri Lanka’s 100th Test match, becoming the only player to represent his country in their first and hundredth Test. He retired from playing cricket in 2001.



Ranatunga was known for controversially calling a runner during long innings due to his level of fitness. After the second final of the One Day triangular series in Australia in the 1995/6 season, when the incident with Healy occurred, Ranatunga instructed his players not to shake the Australian players’ hands. During this match, Sanath Jayasuriya and Australian paceman Glenn McGrath were also involved in physical jostling; Jayasuriya accused McGrath of racially abusing him, a claim that the bowler denied.

Defence of Muralitharan

Ranatunga is also remembered for his stand in a One Day International against England. Australian Umpire Ross Emerson called Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing. (Muralitharan was subsequently cleared by bio-mechanical experts hired by the ICC.) Ranatunga exchanged heated words with umpire Emerson and led his team to a point just inside the boundary line, halting play and giving the impression that he was about to forfeit the match, until the Sri Lankan management conferred with him and play resumed. English captain, Alec Stewart, was openly critical of Ranatunga’s behaviour. In a comment caught on the stump microphone he was heard to say to Ranatunga “Your conduct today has been appalling for a country’s captain”. The match was bad-tempered, with instances of shoulder-bumping.

Wrangles with Warne

There has always been between Warne and Ranatunga a grudging mutual admiration. When the former visited Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami to aid Muralitharan in his “great work” there, he developed an amiable rapport with his long-time foe: “We even wagged,” he confirmed later. Not long after, however, Ranatunga was lambasting him in a scathing newspaper attack.

“You can’t be mates with everyone,” Warne wrote in his 2008 book Shane Warne’s Century, serialised by The Times in September, “and if there was any way I could knock him down to number 101 for the purposes of this book, I’d be delighted to do so. But having taken on the task, I want to do it seriously, and the fact is that Ranatunga helped to put Sri Lanka on the cricket map. And you know what? Deep down, I’ll quietly admit that I rated him as a cricketer.”

Political career

He entered into politics by joining the Sri Lanka Freedom Party led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, and contested the 2001 parliamentary elections with PA from Colombo District. After the UPFA victory in 2004, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Promotion. In 2010, Ranatunga left the UPFA and joined the Democratic Party of the DNA led by Sarath Fonseka, and was made the deputy leader of the Democratic Party. On November 2012, he resigned from the Democratic Party, but continued his affiliation with DNA. He endorsed Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential election, and after Sirisena’s victory Ranatunga was appointed Minister of Highways, Ports & Shipping.

Career highlights


Test debut: vs England, Colombo, 1981-1982
Last Test: vs South Africa, Colombo, 2000-2001

  • Ranatunga’s highest Test batting score of 135 not out was made against Pakistan, Colombo, 1985-1986
  • His best Test bowling effort of 2 for 17 came against New Zealand, Kandy, 1983-1984
  • Ranatunga’s captaincy record was as follows: 56 matches, 12 wins, 19 losses, 25 draws.
One-day Internationals

ODI Debut: vs England, Colombo, 1981-1982
Last ODI: vs Kenya, Southampton, 1999 World Cup

  • He has the record for the most number of runs scored by any batsman in ODI history at number 5 position(4675 runs) and also the first to score over 4500 ODI runs when batting at no 5 position.

International centuries

The following table illustrates a summary of the Test centuries scored by Arjuna Ranatunga

  • the column , * indicates being not out
  • The column title Match refers to the Match Number of the player’s career

Test centuries

Test centuries of Arjuna Ranatunga
No Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Start date Result
111 10  India Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground 30 August 1985 Drawn
135* 18  Pakistan Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka P Sara Oval 22 March 1986 Drawn
127 34  Australia Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground 17 August 1992 Lost
131 43  South Africa Sri Lanka Moratuwa, Sri Lanka Tyronne Fernando Stadium 25 August 1993 Drawn

ODI centuries

One Day International centuries of Arjuna Ranatunga
No Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Date Result
101* 153  Pakistan South Africa Durban, South Africa Kingsmead 2 December 1994 Lost
102* 166  Pakistan Pakistan Gujranwala, Pakistan Municipal Stadium 29 September 1995 Lost
131* 215  India Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka R. Premadasa Stadium 18 July 1997 Won
102 240  New Zealand Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground 5 July 1998 Won

International awards

One-Day International Cricket

Man of the Match awards

No Opponent Venue Date Match Performance Result
1 Australia P Sara Oval, Colombo 16 April 1983 9-0-45-1 ; 55* (39 balls: 3×4, 2×6)  Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets.
2 Pakistan Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo 11 March 1986 DNB ; 74* (89 balls: 4×4, 1×6)  Pakistan won by 8 wickets.
3 India Green Park, Kanpur 24 December 1986 31 (49 balls: 2×4) ; 6-1-14-4, 1 Ct.  Sri Lanka won by 117 runs.
4 India Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi 13 January 1987 41 (30 balls: 2×4, 3×6) ; 10-0-42-2, 2 Ct.  India won by 6 wickets.
5 India Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 25 April 1990 8-0-40-0 ; 85* (77 balls: 4×4, 3×6)  Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets.
6 India Barabati Stadium, Cuttack 28 December 1990 53 (105 balls: 1×4, 1×6) ; 10-0-36-1  Sri Lanka won by 36 runs.
7 South Africa Basin Reserve, Wellington 2 March 1992 6-0-26-2, 1 Ct. ; 64* (73 balls: 6×4)  Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets.
8 Zimbabwe Moin-ul-Haq Stadium, Patna 15 November 1993 59 (64 balls: 7×4) ; 5-0-24-2  Sri Lanka won by 55 runs.
9 West Indies R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo 16 December 1993 2-0-16-0 ; 66* (78 balls: 3×4)  Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets.
10 Pakistan Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo 11 September 1994 8-0-29-0 ; 82* (76 balls: 6×4)  Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets.
11 Australia P Sara Oval, Colombo 13 September 1994 2-0-14-0 ; 59 (71 balls: 2×4, 1×6)  Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets.
12 Pakistan Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban 2 December 1994 101* (108 balls: 8×4) ; DNB  Pakistan won by 6 wickets.
13 South Africa Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein 15 December 1994 60 (52 balls: 7×4) ; DNB, 2 Ct.  Sri Lanka won by 35 runs.
14 Bangladesh Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 6 April 1995 71 (72 balls: 2×4, 1×6) ; 5-0-24-0, 1 Ct.  Sri Lanka won by 107 runs.
15 Pakistan Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi 3 October 1995 DNB ; 42 (53 balls: 3×4)  Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets.
16 Pakistan Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 17 October 1995 10-1-21-2, 1 Ct. ; DNB  Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets.
17 West Indies Adelaide Oval, Adelaide 15 December 1995 10-1-24-2 ; 27 (37 balls: 2×4)  Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets.
18 India R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo 18 July 1997 DNB ; 131* (152 balls: 17×4)  Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets.
19 West Indies Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore 1 November 1997 DNB, 1 Ct. ; 87* (92 balls: 8×4)  Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets.
20 Zimbabwe Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo 22 January 1998 DNB ; 58* (79 balls: 4×4, 2×6)  Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets.
21 South Africa St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth 13 April 1998 DNB, 1 Ct. ; 93* (118 balls: 9×4, 1×6)  Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets.
22 New Zealand Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo 5 July 1998 102 (98 balls: 6×4, 2×6) ; DNB  Sri Lanka won by 87 runs.